Action to reduce particulate and ozone pollution can save 500,000 lives per year by 2030 and about 1.3 million per year by 2050

Researchers used a comprehensive analysis with global modeling methods that looks at relationships between deaths and exposure to particulate matter and ozone air pollution. They found that 500,000 premature deaths per year could be avoided by the year 2030, of which two-thirds would be in China. By 2050, 800,000 to 1.8 million premature deaths could be avoided. Fixing air pollution in China and east asia will provide 10 to 70 times the benefit versus the cost of the action.

Nature Climate Change – Co-benefits of mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions for future air quality and human health

In the next two years, China announced that they will reduce the sulfur content of fuel. This will increase gasoline costs by 290 yuan (46.8 U.S. dollars) per ton and diesel by 370 yuan per ton. There are about 240 gallons in one ton. So the cost will increase about 1.1 yuan (US$0.18) per gallon of gasoline or about 1.5 yuan per gallon of diesel.

After 2017, the prices of motor gasoline and diesel that meet the national “fifth-phase” standard will be lifted further by 170 yuan per ton and 160 yuan per ton, respectively, said the NDRC.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, has mandated that sulphur content for both gasoline and diesel be set at no more than 10 ppm (parts per million) by 2017, a reduction from the fourth-phase standard of 50 ppm. The fifth standard is equal to the European 5 standard.

China also announced air pollution limits. Under the new plan, concentrations of fine particulate matter must be reduced by 25 percent in the Beijing-Tianjian-Hebei area in the north, 20 percent in the Yangtze River Delta in the east and 15 percent in the Pearl River Delta in the south, compared with 2012 levels. All other cities must reduce the levels of larger particulate matter, known as PM 10, by 10 percent. The plan said Beijing must also bring its average concentration of PM 2.5 down to 60 micrograms per cubic meter or less. That would be two and a half times the recommended exposure limit set by the World Health Organization.

China will spend about 2 trillion yuan to combat air pollution over the next 5 years.

Nextbigfuture has shown that reducing soot is the most cost effective and fastest way to improve the environment and reduce global warming.

A package of 16 measures could, if fully implemented across the globe, save close to 2.5 million lives a year; avoid crop losses amounting to 32 million tonnes annually and deliver near-term climate protection of about half a degree C by 2040.

Fixing soot would be as good as fixing over half of the CO2 problem and could be done for 10 to 20 times lower cost, it would save about 3 million lives that are already known to be lost each year and it would impact climate about 30 to 50 years faster than CO2 fixes.

Actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions often reduce co-emitted air pollutants, bringing co-benefits for air quality and human health. Past studies typically evaluated near-term and local co-benefits, neglecting the long-range transport of air pollutants long-term demographic changes, and the influence of climate change on air quality. Here we simulate the co-benefits of global GHG reductions on air quality and human health using a global atmospheric model and consistent future scenarios, via two mechanisms: reducing co-emitted air pollutants, and slowing climate change and its effect on air quality. We use new relationships between chronic mortality and exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone, global modelling methods15 and new future scenarios. Relative to a reference scenario, global GHG mitigation avoids 0.5±0.2, 1.3±0.5 and 2.2±0.8 million premature deaths in 2030, 2050 and 2100. Global average marginal co-benefits of avoided mortality are US$50–380 per tonne of CO2, which exceed previous estimates, exceed marginal abatement costs in 2030 and 2050, and are within the low range of costs in 2100. East Asian co-benefits are 10–70 times the marginal cost in 2030. Air quality and health co-benefits, especially as they are mainly local and near-term, provide strong additional motivation for transitioning to a low-carbon future.

58 pages of supplemental information

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